Emergency Appeal: Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean

September 15, 2017

Appeal code: 6770
Appeal amount: $250,000 


Hurricane Irma made landfall in Cuba on September 8 and stayed over the nation as a Category 5 storm for more than 72 hours. Wind speeds topped 125 miles per hour. According to ACT Alliance Member Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba, “Among the most significant effects are the loss of ten lives…the total or partial collapse of thousands of homes and the loss of the material resources of a large number of Cuban families; damage to agriculture and livelihoods is major and assessment has still to be completed; devastation in several coastal zones of both littoral as well as in the cays adjacent to the central provinces of the country, including severe damages in protected areas.” More than 2 million people were evacuated. As of September 14, more than two thirds of the country still remained without power. Thirteen of the nation’s 15 provinces were affected by the widespread damage.  

On its way to Cuba, Hurricane Irma passed Haiti to the north. Although the nation was spared a direct hit, powerful wind and rain pounded the northern parts of the country. The Northwest Department, where CWS has food security programs and has been rebuilding houses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, was one of the most impacted parts of the country. Some crops and livestock were lost. Later in the week of September 11, CWS engineers traveled to the Northwest, confirmed that houses built by CWS were in good shape and found that some houses that were weakened by Hurricane Matthew (but not yet repaired by CWS) sustained damage from Hurricane Irma and are in need of rebuilding. 


This summer, CWS shipped 15,000 CWS Hygiene Kits to Cuba among other supplies. Those kits are being distributed in response to Hurricane Irma. Additionally, CWS funds will support the ACT Alliance response, led by our partner Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba. This response will support 100,000 people in 20,000 households across 20 municipalities in 10 provinces. Over the next 15 months, the CIC activities will focus on a few key sectors: repairing roofs, food security, WASH, livelihood protection and restoration, psychosocial support and the provision of other, non-food supplies. 

In Haiti, the CWS team will apply the expertise and experience gained through years of repairing and rebuilding houses. CWS has led a long-term ACT Alliance response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake as our team has helped build houses for dozens of families. Following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, our team applied the same principles and practices to communities who were already engaged in CWS food security programs in the Northwest Department, repairing and rebuilding dozens more houses. Now, our engineers will extend this program to include new houses in the lower Northwest Department that were damaged by both Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma and now need to be rebuilt. Each house costs about $4,000 to build, plus $700 for the engineering and monitoring. 

How to Help

Donations can be made online or sent to your denomination or to:

Church World Service
P.O. Box 968
Elkhart, IN 46515 

Designate 6770, Caribbean Irma Response.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.